A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous facade, there is revealed a person of intelligence and sensitivity.
Biography of Charles Lindburgh from his days of precarious mail runs in aviation's infancy to his design of a small transatlantic plane and the vicissitudes of its takeoff and epochal flight from New York to Paris in 1927. Written by
Paul Emmons <email@example.com>
One of the replicas of "The Spirit of St. Louis" built for this film is on display at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan while another is at the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The nonworking ground replica used at the Paris Airport is hanging from the ceiling of the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. See more »
When test flying the Spirit for the first time the dialog correctly identifies the location where the test flights were made as Dutch Flats. However Dutch Flats is the spot of land where Lindbergh Field (San Diego International Airport) now sits which is right on San Diego Bay. The test flying sequences were obviously not shot anywhere near San Diego Bay. The location appears to be somewhere in the Desert probably Mojave or Owens Dry Lake where a lot of westerns were shot. See more »
[checking his copy]
Here at the Garden City Hotel, less than a mile from Roosevelt Field... less than three-quarters of a mile from Roosevelt Field... everyone is waiting, as they have been now for seven days and nights, waiting for the rain to stop...
See more »
One of the most exhilarating adventure stories ever filmed
Every year there's one can't-miss much-anticipated red-hot big-budget title with the right combination of star, director and subject matter that fails miserably at the box-office. This year it was Superman Returns. In 1982 it was Blade Runner. In 1957 it was Billy Wilder's The Spirit of St Louis, a film that had everything - top director, huge star, best-selling true story about an American hero - except enough of an audience to cover its costs. Maybe the public still remembered Lucky Lindy's anti-Semitism and his loud admiration for Nazi Germany's achievements before the war (neither covered in the film, which ends with his arrival in Paris before the legend got too tarnished). Maybe because they thought they knew the story or that it was just going to be one guy stuck in a cockpit for two hours. Certainly Wilder and co-writer Wendell Mayes are aware of the dramatic pitfalls of Lindbergh's relatively uneventful flight, alternating between a well-executed flashback structure to key points in his life and the build-up to the flight itself. Once the film is airborne, it's both surprising and suspenseful, finding genuine drama in his attempts to stay awake and to navigate without proper instruments.
It also builds up a quite remarkable sense of dread that's unlike anything else in Wilder's filmography, allied to a real sense of the epic: shots like the ominous storm clouds over the hanger the dark dawn before the flight carry a real chill of foreboding to them. Even the typically muted and problematic WarnerColor adds to the film rather than detracts from it. Along with the superb use of CinemaScope, there's a remarkable score from Franz Waxman: majestic, soaring but filled with understated menace, and cleverly used as part of the fabric of the film rather than mere musical accompaniment. The film does lose points for implying, though never actually saying outright, that this was a race to be the first to fly the Atlantic - in fact, Lindbergh was the third man to fly across the Atlantic after almost completely forgotten Brits Alcock and Brown's astonishing flight eight years earlier - but it's still a remarkably tense and engrossing adventure story that deserved the success it never found.
10 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?